We're calling on the government to Save Our Shielders
8th Jul 2020
We're urging the Government to give financial support to people with blood cancer who can't work from home and whose workplace cannot be made Covid-safe.
Blood cancer increases the risk of becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus by more than almost any other health condition, and so it may not be possible for people with the condition to return to work safely if they work in schools, hospitals, shops and pubs.
We're concerned that the end of shielding in England and Northern Ireland on July 31 means these people will no longer be covered by a doctor’s note, leaving many facing a stark choice between their financial security and their health.
Many employers will be able to ensure social distancing, but the idea that you can do this consistently in schools, hospitals or shops just isn’t realistic.
- Gemma Peters, Chief Executive
Our survey of 226 people with blood cancer in employment found that 21% said their employer had not been fully supportive of their need to shield.
That's why we've launched our Save Our Shielders campaign, calling for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to pay 80% of the salaries of people with blood cancer if their doctor says they cannot safely go back to work.
How much would this cost?
This would cost an estimated £50 million until the end of October. We're urging people to write to their MPs and to use the hashtag #SaveOurShielders to tweet Mr Sunak about why it is so important that the Government provides this support.
Our chief executive, Gemma Peters, said: “While it’s good news that the coronavirus infection rate has reduced over the last few weeks, we now understand much more about how dangerous the virus is for many people with blood cancer. Many employers will be able to ensure social distancing, but the idea that you can do this consistently in schools, hospitals or shops just isn’t realistic.
“Given how likely many people with blood cancer are to become seriously ill, it is unacceptable for them to feel forced to go to work if their doctor doesn’t think it’s safe. Unless the Government steps in, for some people the end of shielding could mean the stark choice between financial ruin and risking their life.
“The blood cancer community has already had a very difficult few months. They’ve not been able to leave their homes and too many of them have become seriously ill and died from the coronavirus. We are now getting calls from lots of people who are terrified about going back to a workplace that’s not safe, and the Government needs to support them to make sure they don’t have to.
“After giving so much financial support to keep the economy going, it is inconceivable that Mr Sunak would cut people with blood cancer loose at their time of greatest need.”
Ask your MP to #SaveOurShielders
No one should have to choose between their health and their job. Support our campaign to get financial support for people with blood cancer who can't safely go back to work.